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Inequality Drives You Mad

Having watched the Election 2010 debate on TV last night, there remains no doubt in my mind that all three of the major UK parties are still wedded to economically illiterate neo-liberal policies - from which they can only be briefly and reluctantly budged, and to which they will revert as soon as the threat of economic armageddon recedes far enough for them to turn on the feel-good rhetoric again. In an extract from his new book "Ill Fares the Land" in the latest New York Review of Books, Tony Judt accuses the Left of a total failure of nerve on both sides of the Atlantic:
"Social democrats today are defensive and apologetic. Critics who claim that the European model is too expensive or economically inefficient have been allowed to pass unchallenged. And yet, the welfare state is as popular as ever with its beneficiaries: nowhere in Europe is there a constituency for abolishing public health services, ending free or subsidized education, or reducing public provision of transport and other essential services."   
The whole article is well worth reading (like everything Judt writes), but what struck me most forcibly was a sequence of graphs that accompany the piece. Assuming that you can read a graph, these will tell you everything you need to know about the evil effects of free-market dogma on crime, general and mental health, with the USA wallowing deep down in the mud and the UK poised to join them. Read them and weep:

FOOTNOTE: Tony Judt is asking for contributions in aid of research into the fatal motor neuron disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease) from which he suffers. You can contribute via the Move for ALS website.

Comments

  1. I note the absence of Japan on the first graph and its position on the others. I did hear of a description of Japan as being the world's most successful communist country. It has an economy with a relatively large degree of central planning and is very egalitarian (once you remove a small number of very rich people from the reckoning).

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